Wednesday, December 9, 2009

How to Write A Cover Letter to Apply for Teaching Jobs Abroad



I have to be honest, most of the cover letters I read are exactly the same. I spend less than 30 seconds skim-reading them and skip ahead to the resume or CV.  But this one made me stop, read it slowly, read it again, and then remember why I do what I do with Classroom Canada

So, I asked the teacher if I could share it with you and she agreed. I've made some changes to make it anonymous, but I hope it helps you when writing your own cover letter. 

I am currently accepting applications from teachers & teaching assistants who wish to work in London, England in April/May 2010 and September/October 2010. 

My edits & comments are in blue.

Dear Ms. Westcott,

Thanks for finding my name and using it.  "To whom it may concern," is a personal pet peeve of mine, especially when it's so easy to find the employer's name online these days.  So already, I'm happy to read this cover letter!

I am currently a B. Ed. student at ABC University in Canada, and I will be completing my program in Elementary Education in May 2010. I stumbled upon your blog this past summer while researching job opportunities for after graduation, and Classroom Canada really caught my attention.

This is a great introduction paragraph for a couple of reasons:

1. It's clear what she is studying to teach.  You won't believe how many cover letters don't state what the teacher actually teaches.

2. She makes it clear that she's done her research, and specifically wants to teach with Classroom Canada.  I want to know more so I read on.  That's the sign of a great cover letter!

Since returning to ABC University for my B Ed, I have continued to try to learn more about life teaching in inner city London. I have subscribed to TES Connect updates, watched Teacher.tv videos, read your “Guide to Teaching in London”, and followed blogs by current Classroom teachers making the move to London. A friend and I also did a research project for our Individual Differences Conference in which we worked on strategies for teaching English Language Learners, and with London in mind, I chose to focus on strategies for teaching in linguistically diverse classrooms.

I want to clone this teacher.  She has done her research and shows me what she reads.  Already I know we're going to have great discussions about teaching in London and I haven't even spoken with her yet.  You don't have to say the exact same thing (in fact, if you do, I'll know you just copied this one!), but showing that you have done your research into teaching in London & our company really helps your application. It saves me time from having to teach you, plus I have written it all down here in the blog & ebook so it is really easy for you.

Although I may not have experience teaching in an inner city context, I do have ample experience working, studying and volunteering abroad, which I believe reflects my ability to adapt when faced with new and challenging situations. Most recently, I spent a year studying in Africa, during which time I volunteered in a Grade 1-2 class at a local school for street children. In January I will leave my comfort zone in the ABC Region, to move to the Really Remote Area of Canada to complete my final 13 week practicum for my B. Ed. I am flexible, I am a quick learner, and most importantly I love teaching and learning, and pushing myself to take on new challenges.

This paragraph shows that she's adaptable, flexible, eager and has experience abroad.  Any experience abroad will help your application to teach abroad.  Obviously, working with street children is going to spark my interest, particularly since we recruit for teachers in inner city London, but any volunteer or work abroad will do this equally well.

I have always been very involved outside the classroom, playing sports and participating in many community projects, and I look forward to becoming just as involved in the schools I will one day teach at. I also have an interest in learning different languages: I learned to speak French while studying and working in France, have a basic knowledge of Spanish, and picked up some Xhosa while in Africa. In addition I have taught ESL in Quebec for a number of years, on top of my practicum requirements for my Education program.

Great! I love to hear more about you as an individual.  What you love, what you do outside of school, what languages you speak - all of these factors in your life make you a better teacher, so I want to know more.

Although I had not initially considered teaching in London after graduation, Classroom Canada really caught my eye. You get so much positive feedback, and I love the supportive atmosphere and great advice you provide for your new teachers coming to London. I would really look forward to having the opportunity to speak to you about the possibility of joining your team in the near future, even as soon as May 2010.

Again, she comes back to Classroom Canada and specifically working with us.  This shows that she didn't just write the same cover letter & change the name above for the job.  She wants to work specifically with us, so now, we want to work specifically with her.  See how that works?  It's so easy when you really think about it!

Thank you for taking the time to consider my application,
You're more than welcome. Thank you for taking the time to write your cover letter!
Sincerely,
Sara Jones

The only changes I would make to this cover letter would be to remove the "Although I don't have..." statements.  It's clear that she's a new teacher from the first paragraph, so pointing out a lack of experience or specific direction isn't necessary.  But I didn't even notice that the first 3 times I read it, so it's not a big deal.
 
Any questions, comments, suggestions?  Please share your thoughts below!
 
Other Posts About CV's/Resumes/Cover Letters:
How to Write a Teacher CV/Resume
How to Write a Follow-Up Email After Submitting Your CV and Attending a Teacher Job Fair
Teacher Photos for CVs/Resumes
When Should You Apply for Teaching Jobs in the UK
 
If you would like to become one of our outstanding teachers or teaching assistants in London, just apply through our website. Also, be sure to read the Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians. Sign up for our newsletters and help spread the word to your friends and colleagues.

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